When I was in my 20s I had the worst insomnia, and I thought I would never get over it. I know how much it can control your life.
Without proper sleep, it’s challenging to keep up with life during the day. It leads to:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Mood swings
- Susceptibility to illness
- Weight gain
- Reduced sex drive
- Migraines and chronic pain
- Chronic digestive issues
- Feeling like you’re in a mental fog
- Increased risk for heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes
Insomnia affects about ⅓ of people at some point in life, and about 2 million children have trouble sleeping.
Have you thought about the fact that you spend about ⅓ of your life sleeping? And we sleep about 20% less than our ancestors.
There are many reasons we don’t sleep, like:
- Hormone imbalances
- Poor nutrition
- Digestive issues
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Chronic pain
- Excessive stress or worry
- Inside light exposure without enough sunlight
If you’re on a healing journey, it’s important to get your sleep so you can recover. Your brain recharges and gets rid of toxic byproducts while you sleep, and your physical body goes through organ cleansing and muscle recovery to help with metabolism, immune strength, and hormone balance.
You can also listen to the same information from this article in this 14 minute video:
A Good Night’s Sleep
Quality sleep matters as much as the amount of time in bed. Ideally you should fall asleep within 10-20 minutes of lying down. Falling asleep in less than 5 minutes can mean that you’re overtired.
You can measure your sleep with trackers like the Oura Ring. It will help you measure your total sleep time, how long it takes you to fall asleep, how long you’re in different stages of sleep, and how restful your sleep is. It will provide you with a sleep score each night with tips to improve sleep.
If you wake up early in the night, you’ll likely disrupt your deep sleep, so you may feel more tired the next day. REM sleep occurs mostly in the second half of the night. This is your dream state.
Restorative sleep drives:
- Healthy skin
- Improved physical performance
- Blood sugar regulation
- Healthy weight and metabolism
- Better memory and recall
- Hormone balance
How to improve your sleep
Your internal clock runs around the rise and fall of the sun. It’s also referred to as the circadian rhythm. Health issues, too much caffeine, processed foods and poor diet, stress, blood sugar imbalances, and infections can all disrupt our normal wake and sleep patterns.
If you’re not sure what’s disrupting your sleep, this is something you may want to investigate further with a proper assessment and potential lab testing. If that’s something you’re interested in, you can schedule some time to discuss your options with me here.
Healthy Light Exposure
Proper light exposure starts in the morning by getting sunlight in your eyes as early as possible once the sun rises. You can go for a morning walk or read on your patio for about 20 minutes. This will reset your circadian rhythm.
Your screen time plays a role during the day as well. Use Blue blocking glasses during the day to block out artificial lighting (especially later in the day after about 3pm) and take walk breaks outside with no glasses during the day as much as possible.
At night, use soft lamps near your bed instead of harsh overhead lighting as the sun goes down. Salt lamps are great alternatives.
Limit screen time about 1-2 hours before bed.
Sleep with black out curtains or an eye mask to block outside lighting. Even small amounts of light coming from alarms, lamps, or outdoor lighting can disrupt your sleep and circadian rhythm.
It’s important to have a good winddown routine. It’s obvious that children do well when they have a certain bedtime routine, surrounded by relaxing activities like a bath and book and a time that lights go out.
We forget how important this is as adults because our busy schedules usually get in the way and sometimes we feel it’s the only time we have to chill out and mindlessly engage in certain activities like television or scrolling the internet. These types of activities will set you up for disrupted sleep.
Avoid large meals or extra fluids before bedtime to prevent you from waking to go to the bathroom. These large meals can also make it difficult to sleep since your digestive system will be working overtime during the night when it should be resting and repairing.
Spend about 1 hour preparing for good sleep and keep a consistent sleep schedule – going to bed and waking within 1 hour of your normal wake time, even on the weekends.
About 1 hour before bed, create a relaxing atmosphere and turn off technology. This will give your body signals that your day is coming to an end and it’s time to enter into rest mode.
Turn down the thermostat in your home a couple degrees before you lay down. Your body drops at night when you sleep and this will help with that process so you fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer.
Get in bed by 10pm. Your natural repair mode for the brain and body starts about 11pm, based on the cycles of the sun. Getting in bed early enough to make sure you are sleeping is beneficial so your body is completely at rest when this time of repair begins.
Avoid Stressful Tension Before Bed
Physical and emotional stress can both be responsible for raising the heart rate before bed and disrupting sleep. Your heart rate should reach its lowest point during the first half of the night, and stress will prevent that from occurring and will disrupt deep sleep.
Avoid anxiety provoking activities like watching the news or intense movies, reading stimulating material, paying bills, arguments.
Avoid extreme physical activity like exercise and getting in the sauna.
Even taking a bath that is too hot and raises the body temperature enough to cause a sweat can be too stimulating for some people. If you plan to take an Epsom salt bath to relax, make sure the water is not too hot.
During the night
If you have trouble falling asleep, try reading a neutral book with a reading light to relax your mind.
Journal your thoughts and write down the things that went well that day.
If you wake up in the middle of the night, do not lay in bed for more than 20-30 minutes without doing something different to calm your body back down.
Turn around and place your feet up the wall for a few minutes to slow your heart rate down.
Get up and read for 20-30 minutes until you feel rested enough to fall asleep.
Have a balanced snack:
- ½ green or unripe banana (unripe is best, but yellow is fine)
- Roll it in pink himalayan salt
- Eat about 14 raw cashews with it
Supplements to support sleep
Supplements and herbs can be highly effective at supporting sleep. I would recommend starting with some of the sleep habits first before jumping to a supplement, but using a stress-relief supplement like phosphatidylserine, a natural compound present in the brain, can be beneficial. It contains amino acids that help restore the brain chemistry balance and reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol rises with stress. You can take 100-150mg 3 times a day for overall brain function or a single dose after dinner to target elevated cortisol levels.
Essential Oils are another great way to help the body relax before bed.
The Serenity Sleep System encourages relaxation and melatonin production. The calming aromas help relax your nervous system so you drift off to sleep easily.
When combined with a soothing cup of chamomile and lavender tea, you’ll be sure to get restful sleep.
In our programs, we discuss topics like sleep in detail to support overall health. The program includes a full analysis of your unique health situation, along with a step-by-step plan to help you address the underlying cause of your symptoms. If you’re considering this as a possibility for improving your health long-term, please complete our short application so we can get to know you better and schedule a time to connect with us on a call to see if it’s the right fit for you.